Jammu and Kashmir: Terror groups backed by the Pakistan Army has set up at least eight new launch pads along the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). According to top intelligence sources, as many as 250 terrorists are waiting to invade into J&K from 27 launch pads in PoK.

Of the 27 terror launch pads which are operational, Lashkar-e-Taiba is concentrated in Lipa, Chakothi, Bararkot, Shardi, Jura and Bararkot areas while Hizbul Mujahideen’s camps are set up in the Forward Kahuta area of PoK. Of the eight new launch pads, the one located in Lipa Valley is one of the two strategic locations that was destroyed by the Indian Army during its surgical strikes on September 2016.

“Approximately 250 terrorists are waiting to infiltrate into India. The geographical importance of these infiltration points is the breathing time needed by these militants and the support from over ground workers in Handwara and Hafrooda forest cover. From there, their intent is to move to South Kashmir,” said an intelligence officer.

There were at least 14 functional launch pads in PoK with just 160 terrorists before the encounter of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. However, the number of terrorists increased to 190 and then to 230 with an addition of five more terror camps. This took the total count of terror camps to 19. Reportedly, eight more have been added since Imran Khan was elected as Pakistan’s Prime Minister.

As per the intelligence officers, the recent increase in terror activities in Gurez, Jajarkotli, Sopore, and Bandipora in Kashmir is meant to destabilise the state ahead of panchayat elections which may just increase the tension between two countries. An official source said that security forces are now planning to maintain a strong anti-infiltration posture along the LoC.